Quality Assurance Manager: Job Duties, Career Outlook, and Education Prerequisites

Explore the career requirements for quality assurance managers. Get the facts about job duties, career outlook and education requirements to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Engineering Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Quality Assurance Manager?

A quality assurance manager works in various industries to develop and enforce quality control policies. They will oversee other employees involved in the inspecting process and are responsible for making sure that products and materials meet certain quality and safety standards by testing and inspecting these items with electronic or handheld tools and devices. After inspecting a product, quality assurance managers must write up a report about the product; if the product is deemed unsafe or defective, they must communicate this to the production managers who oversee the manufacturing process. The table below outlines the general requirements for a career as a quality assurance manager.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree, master's degree for advancement
Education Field of Study Quality management, quality assurance
Key Responsibilities Plan and implement quality control policies, enforce compliance with control programs, monitor the quality of goods being produced
Certification Certification is optional
Job Growth (2014-2024) 0% (for all quality control inspectors)*
Median Salary (2017) $102,229 (for all quality assurance managers)**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Salary.com

What Are My Job Duties as a Quality Assurance Manager?

As a quality assurance manager, your main responsibilities are to plan and implement quality control policies in a production operation, enforce compliance with quality control programs and monitor the quality of goods being produced. Your duties might include observing a production line and identifying potential problems, conducting random quality tests, evaluating data and sharing these results with production managers, workers, contractors or vendors. Other duties may include conferring with sales and marketing staff about the needs and expectations of customers.

Where Could I Work?

The industries that employ the most quality assurance managers are aerospace, transportation, computers, electronics, printing, plastics and metals. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that quality control inspectors held 496,600 jobs in May 2014 (www.bls.gov). Between 2014 and 2024, no job growth is expected in this field.

According to Salary.com you could have earned a median annual salary of $102,229 as of January 2017.

What Education Would I Need?

Educational requirements for quality managers may vary by company. Typically, you can find bachelor's and master's degree programs in quality management or quality assurance at a number of universities and colleges. Bachelor's degree programs combine concepts from natural sciences, industrial science, business management and statistics to prepare you for careers in manufacturing. Along with classwork, you'll engage in lab work and independent study to develop theoretical and practical knowledge of quality planning, monitoring and verification methods.

Master's degree programs provide you in-depth research of quality systems development and quality standards. You'll develop leadership and communication skills in regard to production. Graduate courses may touch on subjects such as measurement and testing methods, operations management, process management and information systems. Some graduate programs are designed for current managers who are seeking to advance or transition their careers.

Can I Get Certification?

The Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence (CMQ/OE) from the American Society for Quality (ASQ) is your main certification option. To be eligible, you'll need at least 10 years of work experience in areas such as supply chain management, project management and strategic planning. At least five of those years must be in a position with decision-making authority. The society will waive two years of the requirement if you have an associate's degree; four years for a bachelor's degree; and five if you have a master's degree. The CMQ exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions and two essay questions.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Individuals with an interest in quality control can become quality control inspectors; they have responsibilities that are similar to those of a quality assurance manager, but they typically work under the manager and report their findings to him or her. The skills necessary for success in these positions can be applied to construction and building inspection, though thorough knowledge of building codes and regulations would also be necessary.

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